Tomorrow is May 23rd – a date that will stick with me forever. The day I graduated from Ithaca College and started the journey into what they call “The Real World.” What a joke. For the first few months, I went to the beach on a daily basis, drank more than I did when I was in school, and applied to an average of 10 jobs every day. I was basically still living the college life – without classes, a job, and a purpose – aka The Dream.
Today, the class of 2011 graduated from Ithaca College… and other colleges around the country. I am not going to lie – I watched the live stream of David Muir’s commencement speech at Ithaca and I got teary eyed. I honestly watched because I wanted to hear some words of wisdom from a successful Ithaca alumni who received a Bachelors Degree in the same thing I did – Television-Radio production (if you don’t know, Muir is an anchor for ABC News). He urged students (now alumni) to give the voiceless a voice – and to use their voices! When I graduated last year, I felt pretty damn voiceless… As I said, applying to tons of jobs on a daily basis, interviewing for tons of jobs on a weekly basis, and getting rejected from these jobs on a monthly basis makes you feel like… shit. BUT eventually I got offered a job – actually, two jobs. And then I gave myself a voice… a pretty good voice. This blog.
My advice to this year’s graduating class is to not give up. Whether you received a bachelors degree in Engineering and have had a job secured for the past 5 months OR you received a bachelors degree in Television Production and you have no idea what you are going to do after your lease ends in 7 days and your landlord is prying the keys to your apartment out of your hands telling you that you HAVE to go home… don’t worry – life will fall into place, eventually. And the fun associated with being young isn’t over just yet… At all.
- Apply to jobs every day – you will improve your cover letter writing skills.
- Set up as many interviews as possible – even if it’s a job you’re not crazy about, interviews are great experience – and when you score an interview for a job you’re actually interested in, you’ll be SO experienced with interviews that you’ll totally ace it.
- Set up informational interviews with companies you’re interested in that may not have openings at the moment. That way, when they do have openings, and you apply, they’ll be able to put a face to a resume.
- Network with your past internship supervisors… or a colleague. You may think that’s so awkward – but what’s the worst that will happen? They don’t reply? Well, at least you tried. And what if they do reply – they might be able to give you a contact that will land you your first job (it happened to me) OR they might be able to actually help you within their company. You never know – so keep in touch with everyone you meet.
- Linked In. Connecting through social media is all the rage right now… You can keep in touch and keep tabs on everyone you know through the website. You can also search for jobs and follow companies you’re interested in. Also, know that once you submit your cover letter and resume to HR for a job, companies will most likely look you up on Linked In – and they’ll be looking for additional information that’s not on your resume… So be sure to spice it up and make your Linked In profile different from your resume!
- TWEET. The popularity of twitter is growing intensely… and it is a GREAT way to communicate with others – and get your voice heard. It is a fantastic way of knowing what is going on all around the world – I am in the know of world news, local news, entertainment news, etc at all times during the day thanks to Twitter. And because of this, I can always spark a conversation about something going on in the world at ANY time of day. In addition to news, you can search for jobs on Twitter – yeah, that’s right. In the search box, type in what your interested in. Want to be a production assistant for a television show in NYC? Try typing in “PA NYC Jobs” or “Production Assistant NYC” or ” Production Assistant Careers” … you get the point. Employers may also look you up on Twitter – so make sure you’re being professional and informative in your tweets… This shows employers that you have fantastic communication and writing skills – and that you are well versed in technology, social media, current events, etc.
- Start your own blog, like me. I started this blog to get my voice heard (as I said before)… but really, it’s so much more than that. I knew everyone my age was feeling the SAME way was as me, and I just had SO much to say (as usual – I love to talk) about being a “recent grad” (oh no – can I refer to myself as a recent grad anymore since it’s been a year?!)… In addition to all this, I am showing colleagues, friends, family, future employers, etc that I can write and that I am an intelligent, ambitious twenty something well versed in the world of pop culture! AND my writing skills are improving (umm, I hope so at least) with every post I write. Best of all, my voice really is being heard. People are actually interested in what I have to say other than my boyfriend (who knew?).
Anyway, the fun isn’t over 2011 grads… Your life is just beginning – mine still is after a year of being a graduate. I want to tell you all congratulations and welcome to the fabulous world of being an alumni!!! Make your dreams come true.